Wimby’s R16: are We in Paris?

TEN-Kyrgios-Nadal

Manic Monday they’re calling this? I don’t know quite what to make of this half-breed grass court tennis that’s been living in the alley next to my house since Stuttgart (since the mid Aughts). The nightmare of clay seems to still be in the air.

I just returned from England; spent a day in Paris. Seriously. Sure I’m a bit jet-lagged, even hungover, but who would blame me? This cross-breed clay-grass mix-up has had me confused (actually for years) prior to even this whirlwind of a holiday I’ve just spent.

Speaking of spent (no, not all the money spent on said holiday), this line-up for tomorrow’s mayhem Monday (we’ll call it) looks actually desperate.

Like the American side in that Gold Cup final I just watched between U.S. and Mexico.

I can only say that an imaginary ray of hope prayerfully cracks the Monday early PST clouds tomorrow so I can rise-up in spirit to meet this last week of grass, watch some true genius grow like some of those fresh Premier League pitches I visited last week in England. I even made it to Manchester. Brilliant really.

But this?

Djokovic
Humbert

Goffin
Verdasco

Pella
Raonic

RBA
Paire

*     Holy      *     Shit     *

Querrey
Sandgren

Sousa
Nadal

Nishikori
Kukushkin

Berrenttini
Federer

*     Ha     *     Ha     *

Folks, I hate to bore you, but this has Djoker vs Rafa written all over it again, which you already knew (like a Roland Garros final, aside from Thiem, who’s perhaps on a bit of a holiday himself, no?). As much of a hard time as we give Rafa, he Novak and Roger (though Federer is simply not with enough youth or ideology or ethos to fully engage the younger two) simply won’t be denied; and we’re leaning a potentially troubling loss for Federer to Nadal if the second seed can not explore a more devastating brand of tennis.

I watched a bit of the Berrenttini vs FAA Stuttgart final. The Italian has a decent athletic approach, can move and hit to both sides, a bit from both sides, comes to net ably, simply hits the ball square and tries not to trip-over himself. He’s a confident bloke at the moment.

Federer should be through tomorrow to reach Rafa. But the Swiss needs to quit pissing himself. Come-on, old boy!

Rafa got through Nick in a nice early get-your-shit-together match, so he’s looking fairly solid, as he should, coming from such a fine Wimby tune-up as Roland Garros turns out to be (the two surfaces are indeed different, but not like they once were — and these boys have been playing this bloody scheduling for years now, so spare us the difficulty of overcoming the specialty crap).

At the same time, Tsonga looked terrible. That BH! He couldn’t have gifted the Spaniard a a more delicious fruit. Jo-Willy, I’m going to need a talk with your parents, or whoever is in charge. And to imagine we thought we saw even for a second a little form there in Halle. Yikes.

Rafa looks good for a few reasons, two I just referenced.

He’s tuned-up (form and confidence) from another French and the surfaces have, indeed, become homogeneous. Crack-on, Nadal!

The clay and grass are quite the same. Rafa has no more room to excuse those R2 or even R16 losses at SW19.

This last 16 is so full of “clay courters” it’s kinda mesmerizing. Watch out for that dandy Pella or Sousa or the once dirt baller Berrenttini. Goffin too. Nadal, Djokovic and Federer can handle the clay fairly well, as well. Especially the Nadal guy.

The point is there really is no more difference here. The proof is in the pudding. Not sure how this is not somehow remarkable or disconcerting.

The third point (#1, Nadal’s form; #2 the clay/grass similarities; #3 half the final 16 is fully versed in clay) fairly obviously has two heads: as remarkable as it is that half of these blokes left could easily be in the final 16 at Roland Garros, the apparent “talent” on this tour, and the up-and-comers, NextGen, the “future,” etc., is in an absolute hurricane of decline.

Properties like Thiem (who we acknowledged had a tough opener against Querrey), Zverev, Tsitsipas, Cilic, Khachanov, Shapovalov, Stan, Isner, Anderson, Medvedev, Dimitrov (ha ha), and, yes, even Auger-Aliassime have to make a better case, a better showing in the final 16 at Wimbledon.

Or the field is deep, perhaps? Or shit happens?

Ladies and gentlemen, we had Nadal vs Djokovic in the Aussie Open final. Remember?
We probably should have had Nadal vs Djokovic in the French final, but for court conditions that looked like something out of The English Patient.

And we’ll probably (almost certainly) get those two in the Wimby final.

I hope I’ve made a bit of a case here for why this is very likely, and a tad over wrought, perhaps even ill.

I’m hoping for some of that sunshine tomorrow. Let’s just see some good grass court tennis.

Cheers.

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